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Topshop boss Sir Philip Green 'is in talks to sell his High Street empire to Chinese textiles giant'

February 18, 2018 10:46 AM
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High Street mogul Sir Philip Green is in talks to sell of part of the Arcadia group empire.

The conglomerate which owns both Topshop and Miss Selfridge, may be bought by Shandong Ruyi, a Chinese textile giant who are rapidly expanding into Europe, the Sunday Times claims.

The sale would a landmark moment for the British retail industry and potentially bring an end to Sir Green's 50-year high street career that was been tarred with controversy.

It is believed Sir Green, who is thought to be worth $4.9bn (£3.5bn), has been seeking a buyer for some time as flagship brand Topshop is struggling to compete with online rivals such as Asos and Boohoo.

Topshop's sales for fell by 10.9 per cent like-for-like, according to a leaked set of results from Christmas 2016. Arcadia's sales fell by 6.5 per cent for the same period. It it thought the group's performance has deteriorated further since.

The sale of the group would lead do the probable retirement of Sir Green, who has been in the spotlight throughout his five decade career.

The 65-year-old is also thought to have held talks with Oxford Industries, who own several US clothing brands, but they have reportedly ended.

The Arcadia group is majority owned by Taveta Investments, the company owned by Tina Green, the wife of Sir Phillip Green.

It is currently comprised of Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop. It also owns Outfit, an out-of-town retailer that sells lines from the other chains.

It was founded in 1903 and was bought by the Green family in 2002, having acquired and sold off several well-known British brands in its 100 year history.

Sir Green may want to keep Topshop but sell off the rest of the group.

Leonard Green, a US private equity firm, holds a 25 per cent share in Topshop - the terms of the sale means either party can sell their part of the business after five years. The period expired in December.

Sir Green has been been in discussions to separate Topshop from the rest of the group since 2016, but it may come with complications following the BHS pensions scandal.

Shandong Ruyi was established in the 1970s as a woollen mill in Jining, northern China.

It has been on forceful expansion mission throughout Europe and has purchased controlling stakes in the French luxury brands Sandro and Maje as well as British tailoring houses Aquascutum, Gieves & Hawkes and Kent & Curwen. Most recently, it bough a majority share in Swiss shoe company Bally.

Born in Croydon, south London, Sir Green left boarding school in 1967 with no qualification and began an apprenticeship at a shoe-importing firm.

His career and personal life has often made headlines, and he had made deals international brands such as Olympus and Sears.

He took over BHS in 2000 and Arcadia in 2002, and was knighted by Tony Blair in 2006.

The collapse of BHS and sale for £1 in 2015 sullied his reputation and he was branded a 'billionaire spiv' by the Pensions Regulator when the company collapses a year later with a £571m hole in its pension funds.


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